An independent analyst has picked out the energy firms it believes are best placed to provide UK businesses with sustainable energy supply and services.
Centrica, EDF, E.ON and RWE npower are the utilities highlighted in a report by Verdantix. Other companies included in the survey are Ecotricity, GDF, Good Energy, Haven Power, Scottish and Southern Energy, Scottish Power, SmartestEnergy and Total Gas and Power.
The in-depth study compared 13 utility firms operating in the UK, ranging in revenue size from £10m to £70bn, on 37 assessment criteria.
Power retailers were assessed on their provision of green electricity contracts, sustainable gas contracts, on-site renewable energy and heat generation, energy management advice and implementation and carbon and climate change legislation advice. They were also assessed on their corporate sustainability and low carbon energy strategies.
“The fuel mix of power utilities in the UK gets a lot of attention from environmental commentators, but for heads of energy or chief sustainability officers responsible for sustainability strategy, it’s just one part of the picture” said Vanessa O’Connell, Verdantix analyst and author of the report.
She added that “73% of our customer panel said that carbon and energy management was the major sustainability issue for their firm”.
“Rising energy prices and the CRC are driving firms to increase spending on energy efficiency, energy management technology and climate change advisory services. Meanwhile, feed-in-tariffs incentivise increased spend on renewable energy installation. Over the last five years, some of the largest power utilities in the UK have invested heavily in service development and are positioned to meet new demands for sustainability and energy services.”
The report claims that Centrica, EDF, E.ON and RWE npower lead the market for sustainable power utilities. “These firms combine capabilities in at least five of the six service lines analysed with robust internal sustainability strategies,” it states.
It also singled out five specialists with innovative business models focusing on low-carbon energy supply: Good Energy, GDF Suez UK, Ecotricity, Scottish Power and SmartestEnergy. These were all found to have above average compliance with the Renewables Obligation and innovative green electricity contracting.
Good Energy supplies 100% renewable energy while Ecotricity re-invests all of its profits in wind and solar firms. Smartest Energy is the largest purchaser of independently generated renewable and low carbon energy and has developed power purchase agreements which give buyers detailed visibility over their energy supply.